A wonderfully crafted memoir, shimmering with intellectual honesty. Fang Lizhi writes with ease and precision and astute intelligence. His observations are at once comic and tragic, making the book a pleasure to read.
The Most Wanted Man in China: My Journey From Scientist to Enemy of the State | Foreign Affairs
Beautifully translated by Perry Link, it is a pleasant reminder of what an interesting, truthful and intellectually wide-ranging man the Chinese astrophysicist Fang Lizhi actually was. His story is critical to understanding today's China. His engaging personality, his huge talent, his resilience in the face of hardship and political pressure, and above all his integrity shine through in this fascinating memoir. The information about The Most Wanted Man in China shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks.
In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added. Reader Reviews Click here and be the first to review this book!
Fang Lizhi was an astrophysicist and the vice president of the University of Science and Technology of China. A recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, he was a professor of physics at the University of Arizona until his death in He is the author or editor of several books on Chinese literature, culture, and politics, including The Tiananmen Papers.
More Author Information. It's also compulsively readable. A tale of courage in the face of arrogance that remains eerily relevant on U. Reader Reviews. He always advised them to become professionally qualified in some nonpolitical line of work, so that their political activities would be independent of financial needs. He said emphatically that it was wrong to depend on political activity to pay for groceries.
He practiced what he preached. Throughout his life, from his first days as a teaching assistant in China to his last week as a distinguished professor at the University of Arizona, he taught students and gave lectures regularly. He knew that he was an outstanding teacher, and he took great pride in doing the job well.
- The Spirit of May 35th.
- The Most Wanted Man in China - Truthdig.
- Construction of buildings;
- See a Problem?.
- Iso 9001: 2000 Document Development Compliance Manual: A Complete Guide and CD-ROM?
- The most wanted man in China : my journey from scientist to enemy of the state.
- The Most Wanted Man in China: My Journey from Scientist to Enemy of the State by Fang Lizhi.
When Fang came to America, his determination to be a scientist first and a political dissident second dictated his choice of Tucson, Arizona, as his home. His political friends urged him to settle in Washington, where he could have maintained close contact with the world of international politics. He chose Tucson because it was far away from the politicians and conveniently close to the Kitt Peak National Observatory where he could talk and work with astronomers.
The University of Arizona campus at Tucson had an excellent department of astronomy, where he could teach good students and invite bright young scientists from all over the world to work with him. In America as in China, he was a passionate scientist and a reluctant politician. After he was exiled from China and before he settled permanently in Arizona, Fang came again to the Institute for Advanced Study for the academic year — When he came for the second time, everyone knew that he was a famous political dissident, but he still talked mostly about science and not about politics.
During this visit, I happened to mention to him a book that I was writing about science for the general public. I told him that one of my main problems was to explain the paradox of order and disorder in language that the unscientific reader could understand. His response reminded me of my own teacher Hans Bethe, a great physicist of an earlier generation.
He referred me to a book that he had written with his wife, Creation of the Universe. The book is a wonderfully clear and simple account of the evolution of the cosmos revealed by modern observations, written for readers untrained in mathematics. The paradox of order and disorder was a big problem for people in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries confronting the facts of biological and cosmic evolution. The paradox arises because heat is the most disordered form of energy.
Heat is our name for the energy of atoms randomly moving in all directions. The atoms reach a state of maximum disorder when the heat is distributed evenly between objects all at the same temperature. According to the second law of thermodynamics, one of the firmly established laws of modern physics, heat always flows in one direction, from warmer objects to colder objects. Therefore it would seem that, as the universe evolves, warm objects should become cooler and cold objects should become warmer, with everything tending toward a final state of uniform temperature and maximum disorder.
In the final state of uniform temperature, life would be impossible and the universe would be dead. This gloomy picture of the future was known as the heat death. Learned scientists and scholars portrayed the heat death as our inevitable fate. The paradox appears when we look out at the real universe and see nothing resembling the heat death. Both in the world of astronomy and in the world of biology, we see evolution moving in the opposite direction, from disorder to order, from death to life.
Everywhere we see new and intricately ordered structures arising out of primeval chaos. The most obvious and familiar example of order growing out of chaos is the emergence of our ordered system of sun and planets out of a featureless cloud of interstellar dust and gas. He explains the paradox of order and disorder as a consequence of the peculiar behavior of gravity. Unlike other kinds of energy, gravitational energy is predominantly negative. Our gravitational energy becomes more and more negative as we walk downhill toward the center of the earth. In any situation where gravitational energy is dominant, temperature and energy flow in opposite directions.
The flow of heat works against the heat death, making warm objects hotter and cool objects colder. Instead of disappearing, temperature differences grow as time goes on. In the universe as a whole, gravitational energy is always dominant, and so the heat death never happens. Order grows out of chaos because we live in a universe with structures dominated by gravity. The dismal images of doom and gloom associated with the heat death turn out to be illusory. Fang took no scientific credit for his explanation of the paradox. He said it was nothing new. He said any good teacher could find things explained badly in old books, and could then explain them better to students.
Creation of the Universe was written for students and not for experts.
It was part of his job as a teacher. Although Fang succeeded in keeping his life as a scientist separate from his life as a political dissident, he knew very well that his two lives were inescapably entangled. His influence in the world of politics and international relations depended on his reputation in the world of science. So long as the Chinese government was willing to tolerate his political unorthodoxy, he could play a useful role as an unofficial channel of communication between China and the international community.
Fang believed passionately in science, not only as an intellectual pursuit of understanding of nature, but also as an international enterprise in which people of diverse cultures and traditions could work together. Scientists throughout the world speak a common language and find it easy to collaborate. That is why scientists can communicate across political barriers more easily than diplomats and politicians. Scientists are often useful as channels of international communication about matters having little to do with science.
We provide the world with a model demonstrating that a working international enterprise is possible. At the beginning, as a teenager witnessing the defeat of the incompetent and corrupt government of Chiang Kai-shek by the young revolutionary followers of Mao Zedong, Fang was an enthusiastic Communist and not yet a scientist. The official ideology of communism, proclaiming the victory of the working class and the triumph of social justice, gave him a cause that he could wholeheartedly support.
The Most Wanted Man in China
Communism was a secular religion, providing him with a code of ethics and the moral support of a community of friends united in their loyalty to the party. In , when I was vice president of the University of Science and Technology of China, local Communist Party officials in Huizhou began inviting me to visit and to "look up my relatives. Their not-so-hidden motive was to use my status as a scholar and university vice president to harvest a bit of glory, even be it empty glory, for their local area.
Their plans went awry in January when I was expelled from the Communist Party, fired as vice president of the university, and demoted to the Beijing Observatory. After that, I wasn't of much use in the quest for glory, and the invitations stopped coming. There is something to the old adage that "the number of one's relatives is not fixed; it rises and falls with one's fortunes. As it happened, I went to Huizhou three times during anyway, without any local invitations, because three scholarly conferences related to my work were held there.
I knew a bit about my Huizhou ancestors, and these trips allowed me to get reacquainted. My branch of the Fang family had lived in Huizhou until the generation of my paternal grandfather, who left the area in the late nineteenth century. My parents told me that he had set out for the city of Hangzhou all by himself when he was only seven or eight years old.
He never returned, and by now I do not have a single verifiable relative living in Huizhou. She County town, in the heart of Huizhou, had no modern buildings when I visited in The city gates and the streets looked like antiques, even fossils. The stream that flowed along the city wall was still crystal clear; it showed no sign of the pollution that the modern world had brought elsewhere. A stone bridge about three hundred feet long that spanned the stream had been built more than a hundred years earlier with funds donated by a wealthy widow, and its only sign of modernity was that an automobile occasionally passed over it.
Most of the streets were still paved with stone slabs, not asphalt. The most conspicuous structure on the city's main street was a great stone arch, blackened by time, a monument to the eternal glory of a lettered family that had produced a scholar who had once scored highest in the imperial examinations and had entered the emperor's personal secretariat, the revered Hanlin Academy. The Huizhou region had produced many scholars. Traditional Chinese literati honored "the four essential tools" — paper, writing brushes, ink, and ink stones — and Huizhou or its environs were famous for producing prized varieties of three of the four: Xuan paper, Hui ink, and Hu brushes.
I cannot, alas, find any evidence that the Fangs of Huizhou ever produced an outstanding scholar.
My research may be insufficient here; I may be sullying my ancestors. Anyway, to the extent to which I myself can be called an intellectual, it's probably not because of any genes I inherited from Huizhou Fangs. This reasoning cannot explain why I turned out to be an astrophysicist. But, according to some people, it can explain why I was expelled from the Communist Party and fired from my job in It was an example of "it has always been that way.
The specific reference here was to Fang La, probably the most famous of the Fangs of Huizhou, who was executed in the year after leading a rebellion against the Song Dynasty. The rebellion arose in Huizhou and at its peak spread to parts of Anhui, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Jiangxi Provinces; then it lost steam and shrank back to Huizhou, where Fang La was eventually captured and killed. For some of my friends, this story from history became the basis for their "hypothesis" that Fang Lizhi's rebellious streak toward China's ruling regime is an inheritance from his distinguished rebel forebear, Fang La.
Accordingly, during one of those conferences in Huizhou, they decided to "test" their hypothesis by organizing a trip, and inviting me along, to the Qiyun Mountains in Yi County, to the Cavern of Fang La — which was said to have been the rebel's last stronghold. The cavern itself is not very big and is located on a steep cliff that is difficult to ascend. One can see why it was an ideal place for a last stand — it was hard to attack and easy to defend. Inside the cavern there was no longer any evidence of spear or scimitar, blood or rage; the only faint signs of anything at all were some charred rocks, but who could say whether those were from the fires of Fang La or from more recent visitors?
The only trail to the cavern passes by a stone monument that has been erected to the intrepid rebel. The stone is a homely thing, sturdy and thick, and its inscription is in coarse, unrefined calligraphy. Still, there is no denying that this was the largest monument of any kind to any Fang of Huizhou, and even though it was well known that Fang La had been little more than a big bandit, that "hypothesis" about my being his descendant still lurked in my mind.
So I stopped next to the monument and allowed my friends to take a few photos. But the question of whether I was biologically descended from Fang La is something I never seriously looked into. After the visit to Huizhou, my interest in the question dwindled. My grandfather was neither a Huizhou literatus nor a rebel like Fang La, but a merchant. Huizhou has a long, proud tradition of commerce. This is a strange fact, because the Huizhou area, with its rugged hills and winding roads, is not transportation-friendly.
The first railroad line was completed only in — and it ran no express trains. But no matter: for about six centuries, Huizhou commerce was sufficiently dominant in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangzi River that the term "Hui merchants" became standard in historical records.
Related The Most Wanted Man in China: My Journey from Scientist to Enemy of the State
Copyright 2019 - All Right Reserved